Caralee Community School ‘homework club’ kicking goals at Willagee Library


From left: Takara Abdullah, Tanisha Krakouer, education officer Michelle Krickett, Latiesha Krakouer and education assistant Melinda Brown.
From left: Takara Abdullah, Tanisha Krakouer, education officer Michelle Krickett, Latiesha Krakouer and education assistant Melinda Brown.

CARALEE Community School acting principal Jason Shapcott is ecstatic that Melville councillors have provisionally approved $10,000 in funding to enhance an innovative after-school program based out of the Willagee Library.

Mr Shapcott said the Willagee Homework Club, which has run one day a week during school terms for the past 18 months, had resulted in both improved attendance and engagement at his school.

Each Monday, education assistant Mel Brown visits students identified for the program in-class throughout the school day.

She then tutors the same students after school at the Willagee Library from 3pm-4pm.

“What makes this program unique is that Mel is able to build relationship with the kids before 3pm,” Mr Shapcott said.

“Because she works with the kids at school she’s aware of what they’re doing in class so when they arrive at the library she has similar work ready for them.”

Students are identified for the program based on whether they regularly attend the Willagee Library after school and their rate of absenteeism from Caralee.

The program was originally developed in response to a number of students regularly visiting the library to make use of the free Wi-Fi but exhibiting disruptive behaviour while there.

“We decided to look at the possibility of one of the Caralee’s education assistants being available for an hour after school at the library, so that perhaps the kids would begin to think of the library as an extension of the school,” Mr Shapcott said.

“The behavioural statistics that we keep show Caralee has relatively few detentions and suspensions, but some of our students do come from challenging backgrounds where home sometimes does not present a lot of opportunity to do study.

“The intent of the program originally was to get the kids to settle down and treat the Willagee library with the appropriate level of respect but what we found was that school attendance among some students that regularly visited the library went up 20 per cent.

“What is happening is that the kids, particularly the older ones, were no longer embarrassed to come to school because their homework was done.”

The City of Melville funding, although yet to be formally approved, will enable Caralee to add an additional day to the program next financial year.

The Willagee Homework Club was brought to the attention of Willagee ward councillors Lisa O’Malley and Patricia Phelan by MLA for Willagee Peter Tinley.

“This program has been described as transformative by the staff and students involved,” Mrs O’Malley said.

“There have already been many positive outcomes for both the kids and the community of Willagee from this program and I am personally thrilled to see the City support it’s continuation.”